SpaceX is readying for what will be their third mission this month, their fifth this year, which will lift the Spanish company Hispasat’s new satellite, Hispasat 30W-6 (1F), to a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Launch is currently scheduled for this Sunday, lifting off from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral. As with all their past launches, they will be performing a pre-launch static fire test of the first stage on the launch pad. The test is currently planned to take place later on Tuesday.
SpaceX is steadily progressing through their packed 2018 launch manifest, already preparing for their fifth launch this year.
As is usual for SpaceX launches, but is uncommon elsewhere in the launch industry, the Falcon 9 is being prepared for its customary static fire test.
The purpose of the test is to confirm that the rocket and launch pad systems are working as expected. The test consists of a full launch simulation with the full Falcon 9 – minus its payload – on the launch pad, and the vehicle’s fuel tanks filled. The test concludes with a short firing – usually 3.5 or 7 seconds in length – of the rocket’s nine Merlin 1D engines. Since this is using ...